Tuesday, 31 May 2005

Photo: My Betrothed!

I took this great shot of John in the side garden, during the Bank Holiday weekend we just had here in England. (As always, click on the image for a larger-sized version!) Posted by Hello

Photo: Clematis

Sorry for the lack of postings during the past few days. To make up for it, I'm posting this and two more photos taken this weekend around my house. This first is of a clematis vine in my back garden. Posted by Hello

Photo: White Dove Ghetto

The white doves are multiplying at an astonishing rate, and the end of my house has become a bird ghetto! Note that two are going to sleep on brackets for the TV aerial, and one is preparing to sleep on a narrow little windowsill. (Be sure to click on any of the images to see a larger version.)Posted by Hello

Photo: White Dove On My Neighbor's House

It's so crowded in the end of my house at night that one of the doves has begun to sleep perilously perched in a hole in my neighbor's house! His balance is certainly better than mine! Posted by Hello

Saturday, 28 May 2005


We just cannot believe that you're 11 today! We send ALL our love from England to you in Mexico!

Aunt Janet & soon-to-be-Uncle John

Monday, 23 May 2005

"Ain't That Peculiar" - Marvin Gaye, 1966

John has just used a term that sounds very bizarre to American ears. He's going out to get a sarnie. That's a sandwich to you and me.

OK. I know that every country on the face of the earth has its own slang. That's just human nature to personalize language. However, in most cases, it's at least a little bit obvious where a term has come from.

But not "sarnie". I can't figure out why that has become slang for a sandwich...other than the fact that both words begin with "sa".

I've found many websites which have British-Engligh to American-English dictionaries.
THIS is one of my favorites. But not a one of them (so far...) has an explanation of the derivation of the term sarnie.

Any help from my readers would be greatly appreciated!


"Fight the Power" - Public Enemy, 1989

There's a 24-hour strike at the BBC today, which began at midnight. Radio 5 had only a couple of "live" voices on air and other than brief news items and weather were playing pre-recorded sports feature stories. When I turned on the TV to BBC 1, rather than the usual breakfast show, they were simply transmitting the same thing that was on the BBC 24 channel (BBC's 24-hour TV news channel). I didn't sample BBC Radio 2, 3 or 4, but I'm sure it was the same situation with them. And on the way into Oxford on the bus this morning, there were 4 fairly relaxed looking protestors in front of BBC Oxford's offices next to a sign indicating that they were on strike.

Unions have staged the strike because of proposed job cuts and possible privatization of parts of the BBC.

When I moved to Britain, I was under the mistaken impression that the BBC was essentially the mouthpiece for whatever political party was in power at the time. Boy was I wrong!

It will be an interesting day. And I understand this could happen again in a week or so...perhaps for 48 hours next time.


Listening to: Sarah Harmer, "You Were Here"

Saturday, 21 May 2005


Friday, 20 May 2005

"Wash Me Clean" - k d lang, 1992

Sometimes the first thing you hear when you wake up in the morning leaves a very strong impression.

A few minutes ago, the first thing I heard on BBC Radio 5's morning program was about Saddam Hussein. It seems that one of the UK tabloids has just published a color photo of him in prison in only his underwear...and another of him washing out his own socks.

At first, this story made me laugh out loud. I even briefly considering going to a news agent to buy a copy of the paper. I wanted to see these photos for myself. Then I stopped dead in my tracks. We all remember those horrific photos of US and UK solders gleefully posing with Iraqi solders who had been placed in incredibly degrading poses. Does my initial reaction this morning make me no better?

That's a lot to think about this early in the morning. At least it's Friday.


Listening to: "Devils & Dust", Bruce Springsteen

Tuesday, 17 May 2005

"Off the Map" - Guy Clark, 2002


The BBC must be reading Lord Celery!

No...I'm very sure that I have nothing at all to do with this. But those confusing weather symbols, SO famous on the BBC weather maps, are GONE! The new style weather maps debuted yesterday.

I'm just delighted! Although not quite as high-techy-fancy as "Super Doppler" weather maps in Houston (I'm being slightly tongue-in-cheek here, by the way), I think they are a great improvement! I can actually understand them. Fantastic!


Listening to: "Heavier Things", John Mayer

Monday, 16 May 2005

"Should I Stay Or Should I Go" - Clash, 1977

Fans of the English Premier League had spent a lot of time, over the past weeks, wondering who would get to stay in the top tier of clubs and which clubs would be "relegated" (i.e., demoted) down to the next lower division -- the Championship. (To my American readers, it would be as if the major league and minor league teams in baseball had to vie each season for which of them remained in which league from year to year.) This shifting up divisions and down divisions, at the end of each season, is one of the most interesting facets of "English football".

Yesterday afternoon, the final matches of the current season were played. There were four teams fighting for the one remaining spot in the Premier League for next season. And the other three teams would be relegated. Who would stay and who would go? It was drama on a grand scale!

No team who has been bottom of the Premier League at Christmas time has ever managed to avoid relegation. That is, until yesterday. And the Cinderella team was West Bromwich Albion! Good for them...what an amazing story!

Of course, though, there's poor Southampton. 27 years year in the Premier League. And they ended their season yesterday as #20, so they are among the three teams to be relegated. They will join Norwich and Crystal Palace in the Championship next year. Here's the BBC's story, if you'd like to read more.

It was an incredible afternoon for sports fans like John and me!

Meanwhile, how about the news that Malcolm Glazer, owner of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is buying Manchester United! The Man U fans are upset, and we'll no doubt see all sorts of protests before, during and after next Saturday's FA Cup Final in Cardiff. I just hope nobody gets out of hand and spoils a terrific annual event!


Listening to: "Language, Sex, Violence, Other?", Stereophonics

Thursday, 12 May 2005

"Information" - Dave Edmunds, 1993

Listening to: Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Between Here and Gone"

Lots of information on the news this morning, from the BBC...

Listening to your iPod could make you go deaf. BBC Radio 5 Live picked up the story from the "Scotsman" newspaper, published over the weekend. Yup. We've heard that one before. Or perhaps we couldn't hear the warnings, as our MP3 players were turned up too high! Sadly, my hearing has never been the same since the time I was given a course pass at a Formula 1 race in Detroit, many years ago. Sitting in the front row of a Willie Nelson concert in Houston (right in front of some gigantic speakers) back in the 70's didn't help either.

>>>If there's anything to the story, I wonder who did trade
George Galloway's Iraqi crude oil on his behalf?

>>>I'll have to remind John
not to wear his Yankees baseball cap next time we go to the Bluewater Shopping Centre in the London suburbs!

>>>I can absolutely understand why
this particular warning has been issued, after observing the high-speed driving practiced by so many of the residents of my part of rural Oxfordshire. I'm told it has to do with the legacy of motor racing in the area....

Arsenal 7, Everton 0??? OH DEAR...despite having a terrific season, how embarrassing for Everton! No, I didn't see it. It must have been on PPV.

And speaking of football/soccer, WAY TO GO CHELSEA!!!!!!!


Wednesday, 11 May 2005

"Yellow" - Coldplay, 2000

I've been dying to write about this but just haven't had the time to compose a blog entry about it. But now, I don't have to. The Austin American-Statesman have done all the work for me, with their story today!

Why is it that so many visitors from the UK are flooding into Amarillo, Texas...or are planning their trips over there now? Read "Tune Has Brits Swooning For Amarillo" to find out! I hope all those Britons will take the time to explore Route 66 while they are at it.

Just remember, folks, that you need to drive on the right side of the road in Texas!

Now, I have to wonder if somebody will soon be re-releasing "Amarillo By Morning" and "Amarillo Highway" over here in the UK? George Strait probably has plenty of money already, but I'll bet that Robert Earl Keen could use the additional royalties!


"Jungleland" - Bruce Springsteen, 1975

I'm fascinated with the way that music can transport us back to another time and place.

Today, the title of the blog doesn't have anything to do with the content but is simply what I enjoyed the most when I "shuffled" through some favorite songs on my iRiver MP3 player during my commute into Oxford for work this morning. I love my iRiver...although I must admit, enviously, that I love John's new
iPod Shuffle even more!

I believe I've written previously about how much I appreciate shuffling music. You can get really cool insight and perspective on songs when they are pulled out of context through randomizing.

I'm feeling very happy today. I've madly in love with the most wonderful man I've ever known. We're going to get married when circumstances (and the UK Home Office) will allow -- hopefully some time early next year. I love my new adopted home here in England. I especially love the beauty of the countryside in Oxfordshire. I have discovered the joy of teaching...and I seem to have a knack for it. I have a wonderful life.

As I walked over the cobblestones along St Aldates, approaching my office, Bruce Springsteen's "Jungleland" started playing through the Sony headphones. Wow. Now, that's a song I really love! Tt represents a very interesting time in my life...very, very different from my life now. And it's also always represented the gritty sound of urban life. I associate it with New York City, even though I was living in Houston at the time it was released. That song knocked my socks off from the first moment I heard it. And that was thanks to my younger brother Larry, who brought over the LP so that I could hear this new artist he'd discovered. Larry, I'll always remember that afternoon, over at the duplex on Dashwood.

Memories of the mid-70's started flooding back into my head, as Clarence's sax wailed.

Who would have ever guessed where life's road would have taken me these 30 years later! Who would have ever thought how incredibly happy I'd be now! Wow.

And where have all those years gone, anyway...?


PS I recently noticed, in somebody's blog (sorry...I can't remember whose it was...), that they indicate what music they've been listening to recently. What a great idea! Sorry to steal it, but I'm going to. Music is such an important part of my life, and I've been introduced to some fascinating artists recently. So I'm going to start indicating what I'm listening to each time I publish a blog entry. Maybe this will be interesting to some of you...whether the artists mentioned are familiar or new.

I'll start today, then, with:

Listening to...Bruce Springsteen (specifically "Born To Run")

Tuesday, 10 May 2005

Photo: White Dove In Flight

I was in the right place at the right time, with my Canon EOS D30, when one of the white doves flew off of my neighbor's roof this afternoon!Posted by Hello

Photo: Rapeseed Field In Bloom

And this one is of roughly the same shot as the one I took at dawn this morning...only this one was taken at 4pm. You can see the beautiful color of the fields of rapeseed blooming all around England this time of year! Posted by Hello

Photo: Dawn in North Oxfordshire

I took this from the second floor of my house at dawn this morning. It was a really beautiful start to the day, here in the wilds of North Oxfordshire! Posted by Hello

"So Sorry Blues" - Robert Earl Keen, 2003

And I am sorry to any of you who are regular readers...that is, if I actually have any regular readers!!!!

I've been on the road for work. This one was a North American trip; I had half a week in the Chicago metropolitan area and then spent the balance of the week in Houston. It was quite a contrast. We had sub-freezing temperatures in Illinois and the low-80's in Houston.

The week before that, I was teaching in London most of the week. I thought I've have time to blog during the London week -- while staying with John in the London suburbs -- but I didn't. I was working on a re-do of one of our courses and just didn't have much spare time at all.

I'm full of excuses this morning, don't you think?

SORRY ABOUT THAT! I'll be doing better again, starting today!

SO...how are all of you anyway????


PS One of my favorite fellow bloggers has moved HERE!